Houston Dining

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Houston Dining
Houston has become an internationally recognized destination for dining thanks to its diverse range of restaurants, high-quality cuisine and impressive roster of award-winning chefs. If you're going to Houston, you'll soon learn there's never been a better time to take a bite.
By Kristin Finan, AFAR Local Expert
Photo by age fotostock
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    Meat Lover's Paradise
    Texans take their barbecue very seriously, and with good reason. You'll find mouthwatering meat, including brisket, pulled pork and sausage, across the Lone Star State. A shining example of barbecue done right is Killen's Barbecue, located about 30 minutes outside of Houston in Pearland. Yes, you may have to stand in line, and yes, it's worth it. Other excellent barbecue can be found Gatlin's on Ella Boulevard, Pinkerton's Barbecue off Airline Drive and Corkscrew BBQ in Spring.
    Photo by age fotostock
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    Mexican and Tex-Mex Traditions
    Tex-Mex options can be found around every corner in Houston, but for a taste of how true Tex-Mex should be done, stop by the Original Ninfa's on Navigation for tacos al carbon and a margarita on the patio. Or, if you're craving traditional Mexican fare, don't miss Hugo's, where James Beard Award winner Hugo Ortega serves upscale regional favorites as well as a popular Sunday brunch.
    Photo courtesy of Paula Murphy/Hugo's
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    Local Seafood
    Houston is only 60 miles from the Gulf of Mexico, so you won't need to look hard for fresh seafood. Beloved and lauded Houston chef Mark Holley offers elevated and interesting fish and shellfish dishes that Houstonians crave — while also paying tribute to his family roots — at Holley's Seafood Restaurant and Oyster Bar. Reef, located in a stylishly renovated auto showroom and led by chef Bryan Caswell, is another place to try, with a menu that features sustainable, locally sourced fish and seafood options and imaginative sides. Goode Company Seafood is a long-standing family-run seafood restaurant that is known for its mesquite grilling. Crawfish & Noodles takes advantage of the region's crawfish harvest to serve up delicious Asian fare with locally sourced critters.
    Photo courtesy of Julie Soefer/Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau
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    Family Dining
    Houston has its fair share of kid-friendly restaurants. Lankford Grocery is a local favorite for juicy burgers in a laid-back atmosphere — there's even a burger topped with macaroni and cheese. The Breakfast Klub is another Houston classic with lots of kid-friendly fare such as pancakes, waffles and eggs. The restaurant even hosts kids activities and family fun on the first Saturday of every month. And don't forget dessert — the Chocolate Bar's mouthwatering homemade treats, from cake to ice cream to cookies, are the perfect way to end the day.
    Photo courtesy of Downtown Aquarium/Landry’s, Inc.
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    International Cuisine
    Houston is an international city with residents from across the globe, so it stands to reason that its diversity would be reflected in its food. For a twist on Indian cuisine, head to Pondicheri, where chef Anita Jaisinghani offers her unique takes on the street foods of India. Craving a bite of Barcelona? Don't miss Taste BCN, where chef Luis Roger dishes out modern Spanish cuisine that will make your mouth water and mind wander.
    Photo by Dmytro Mykhai/age fotostock
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    Houston's Chinatown, a predominantely strip-mall based area of Bellaire Boulevard located about 12 miles from downtown, is brimming with authentic food venues. One to try is Crawfish and Noodles, which turns out spicy mudbugs served piping hot as well as blue crab, snow crab, and, as the name implies, noodles. Arco Seafood serves a full range of traditional Chinese dishes, and the Banana Leaf offers authentic Malaysian fare.
    Photo by age fotostock
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    Inventive Fusion
    There's no shortage of creativity in Houston's food scene, and creativity is perfectly showcased at chef Chris Shepherd's One Fifth Houston, which will feature five different restaurant concepts, ranging from a steakhouse to a seafood joint, over a span of five years. For a twist on Chinese takeout, try the Rice Box; if you want to see the waffle elevated to the next level, don't miss the Waffle Bus.
    Photo courtesy of Underbelly